From Gothic to Godly
Ever wonder if you can fill life?s void with something other than God? Here?s one guy who tried. And failed.

by Susie Shellenberger

When 15-year-old Erin Crow left junior high and headed to high school, he struggled with the transition. With extra time on his hands during the summer, he became a big fan of the movie The Crow. He also found new musical interest in Nine Inch Nails.

"I bought every single one of their albums," Erin says. "Trent Reznor became my idol. It was like I began turning into a Nine-Inch-Nails and Crow disciple. I was very insecure and didn?t like myself at all."

Through His Ears to His face

It didn?t take too long before Erin decided that simply listening to the music wasn?t enough. He began to dress in all-black gothic style and wear makeup.

"I used basic white on my face to make myself look really pale." Erin says. "I wanted to look sick and deathly. Then I?d use black to outline my eyes and lips and paint my thumbnails and pinkie nails black.

"I became obsessed with death," he continues, "and I wouldn?t wear anything but black. I grew my hair really long and even dyed it black to be like The Crow."

Erin began making daily trips to the cemetery and taking naps among the tombstones. He eventually got into vampiric stuff, but still felt a huge emptiness inside his heart.

"I didn?t like myself," he says. "I was trying to become a different person?trying to find fulfillment. I even became sexually involved with my girlfriend." When he was 18, Erin moved with his girlfriend from Colorado to Tennessee to live together near her family. "But you know what? I still wasn?t whole. Something was missing," he says.

And Then It Happened

"One day while on a farm in Tennessee, I was swinging an aluminum baseball bat against a tree," Erin says. It ricocheted back and hit my cheekbone, splitting my skin and cracking my tooth. I immediately dropped to my knees and began praying. "I need Your help, Jesus,? I said. I was scared and knew the Lord had been trying to get my attention."

Erin says God used that experience to wake him up spiritually. He witnessed to his girlfriend, but she wouldn?t listen. Even though it meant leaving his girlfriend behind in Tennessee, he called his mom and explained that he wanted to come home. She sent him an airline ticket, and he was soon back in Colorado.

New Life

"When I came home," he says, "God started changing my life. I lost my obsession with sex and cemeteries, and wearing all-black clothing and makeup. The music didn?t even interest me anymore. It?s like I started seeing it through God?s eyes, and it all began to disgust me."

As Erin gave control of his life to Jesus Christ, he also began to see himself in a new light. "I now like who I am," he says. "I?m a child of God, Erin Crow, not a Nine-Inch-Nails wannabe. I?ve been made in God?s image."

And has that changed his dating habits? "I?ve asked God to forgive me for being sexually active outside of marriage," Erin says. "I?m so grateful He not only forgives me but also gives me a brand-new start. I?m claiming spiritual virginity. I know that physically I can?t undo what I?ve done, but I can commit to sexual purity and remain a spiritual virgin until I get married. I?m determined not to go beyond handholding and maybe a hug with any girl I date. In fact, I?ve decided not to even kiss a girl until I?m married to her."

Erin says that his former girlfriend got her own wake-up call about a year after he left Tennessee: She was badly injured in a car wreck and gave her life to Christ while recovering in the hospital. Today she?s a committed Christian, too.

But What About ?

Can?t someone just dress gothic and not really get messed up? There?s a lot of New Age stuff mixed in with the whole gothic culture," Erin says. "In fact, if you go back far enough, you?ll find there are actually satanic roots in this movement. Witchcraft is also prevalent in gothic culture.

"When someone simply dresses the part, it?s called kindergarten gothic. But here?s the danger: When you step into something, you always get more involved in it if you?re actually doing it day by day. True gothic is a lifestyle. It changes the way you live and talk?everything!"

And for the teen who says, "I just want to be different"? It?s a downward spiral," Erin warns. "It doesn?t take long for Satan to get such a grasp on your life that you don?t know what to do. I mean, I was contemplating suicide. For the guy who says, ?I just wanna wear the clothes and do the makeup.? He?s kidding himself. It?s a lie. Satan will use it to damage him."

Final Thoughts

Erin?s favorite verse is John 10:10: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

"That?s what happens through the gothic culture," he says. "Satan uses it to destroy you and to steal your identity."

Erin is now plugged into church and is attending Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho. "I really have to watch the music I listen to. It has a big effect on me. I pretty much limit my music to Christian stuff," he says.

Even though God has forgiven him, Erin still faces the consequences of sin. "I struggle with thoughts about my past," he says. "I?m continually giving it to God over and over again. I want Him to consistently be Lord of my life. I sometimes struggle with truly praising God and forgetting who?s around me. I don?t want other people?s opinions to hold me back from worship."

Erin?s advice to guys who want to deepen their relationship with Christ? "Don?t settle for simply reading the Bible?study it. Since Jesus has completely changed my life and truly set me free, I now have an intense desire to win people to the Lord. He?s given me such a hunger for His Word. I want to know it well enough to give answers to those who believe false teachings."

Breakaway Magazine, June, 1999, published by Focus on the Family. Copyright 2000. Focus on the Family. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.